NFL Player Protests and the Constitution

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pdaphoto/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/pdaphoto/

NFL Football photo by Parker Anderson

The hottest topic in our country right now involves NFL (National Football League) Players kneeling during the United States National Anthem. Colin Kaepernick began kneeling as a protest against police brutality in America. Now other players and entire teams (including the Pittsburg Steelers and Dallas Cowboys) are protesting racial inequality and injustice that still exists in our country today. Opponents to the protests consider kneeling to be disrespectful to the military, first responders, and the United States as a whole. President Donald Trump has added fuel to the fire by suggesting that NFL Owners should fire players who protest. While the country appears to be divided on this political issue, it presents an interesting question for some NFL Team Owners: Can NFL Team Owners fire players for protesting the national anthem?

It is well established that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the rights of free speech, and the right to peacefully assemble. However the First Amendment applies towards the United States government, not private organizations like the NFL. The current debate does not involve any state action, so it is highly unlikely that the First Amendment would preclude any NFL Owner decisions.

The most likely way for NFL Players to defend themselves for protesting would be in their NFL employment contract. If players had contracts that protected their right to free speech within the scope of employment, then they would likely be able to protest the national anthem among other free speech actions. Currently the player’s collective bargaining agreement put together by the NFLPA (National Football League Players Association) gives vast power to the NFL Owners. NFL owners are allowed to fine or discipline players for any actions that diminish public respect for the game. These terms make it highly unlikely that players have any defense for being fired for their actions.

The latest debate regarding NFL Protests brings about significant constitutional, employment, contractual, and civil legal matters. If you or someone you know is facing civil legal issues please contact the Bruner Law Firm. The Bruner Law Firm has served thousands of clients throughout Northwest Florida for over 30 years. The Bruner Law Firm has lawyers who specialize in recovering damages for victims of car accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, boating accidents, motorcycle accidents, and trucking accidents. If you need a personal injury attorney in Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Panama City, Niceville, Navarre, or Crestview please contact the Bruner Law Firm. With offices located in Fort Walton Beach and Panama City, Florida the team of lawyers and legal specialists at the Bruner Law Firm are ready to help!


Ohio Suing Pharmaceutical Companies For Causing Opioid Epidemic

Photo taken by Jamie from Flickr

This Wednesday the State of Ohio filed suit against five big Pharmaceutical Firms alleging that they undersold the risks of potent opioid drugs. Drugs like OxyContin and Percocet are used to reduce pain symptoms in patients, but have led to mass addiction. Attorney General Mike DeWine stated, “We believe the evidence will also show that these companies got thousands and thousands of Ohioans, our friends, our family members, our co-workers, our kids, addicted to opioid pain medications. These drug manufacturers knew what they were doing was wrong, but they continued to do it anyway.”

The State of Ohio claims that big Pharmaceutical companies have caused patients to become addicted since they have not adequately described the risks associated with taking the drugs. DeWine stated, “We believe that the evidence will show that these pharmaceutical companies purposely misled doctors about the dangers connected with pain meds that they produced, and that they did so for the purpose of increasing sales.”

Patients often form physical and psychological dependencies to opioids like OxyContin and Percocet. Once patients are no longer able to obtain the prescribed drugs, they often turn to the street for opioids and sometimes heroin. Big pharmaceutical companies minimizing the risk of addiction in order to increase sales leads to a slippery slope. Some are even comparing these unethical marketing strategies to that of the tobacco companies during the 1990’s.

Have you or someone you know been harmed by addiction to legally prescribed opioid drugs? Have you been wondering how to deal with a problem with prescription pain pills? Were you given adequate knowledge and warnings about the risks related to using legally prescribed opiates? If so you should immediately contact an attorney to seek relief for the potential damages that you have incurred. The Bruner Law Firm has represented thousands of clients in Northwest Florida against major corporations in lawsuits related to personal injuries. If you or someone you know has been injured please contact The Bruner Law Firm by phone (850-243-2222), or visit our office in Fort Walton Beach 0r Panama City. It makes sense to talk to Vince.


American Museum of Tort Law

The American Museum of Tort Law has just celebrated its first year anniversary. The Museum is the child of renowned consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who started the project to give Americans a look a the truth and history behind many famous torts lawsuits. Amongst the chief cases exhibited are the famous Ford Pinto, Liebeck v. McDonald’s (the “Hot Coffee Case”), and various Tobacco lawsuits/Engle Progeny. The museum has received donations and funding from various consumer advocate groups. Nader has described the running theme as keeping the powerful accountable. The museum can be visited most days from 10:30am to 5:00pm and is located at 654 Main St, Winstead, CT 06098.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/american-museum-of-tort-law-winsted


Regulators to Block Apps on Smartphones while Driving

Apple iPhones and Google Android Devices may soon disable certain apps while motor vehicles are in motion. Federal Auto Safety Regulators want makers of these devices to add a driving mode that blocks certain apps from use forcing a driver to keep their attention on the road.

The new proposed regulations come via voluntary guidelines that will be issued by the Nation Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Such changes are intended to improve car safety, where texting and driving has caused a number of vehicular accidents. “Your smartphone becomes so many different things that it’s not just a communication device,” Anthony Foxx, secretary of the Transportation Department, said in an interview. “Distraction is still a problem. Too many people are dying and being injured on our roadways.”

 

Although phones currently have an airplane mode, making them safer for pilot’s wireless communication systems, they do not yet have such a feature for driving in motor vehicles. Although the new regulations do not force companies to comply with the rules, in the past, carmakers have voluntary complied with them—disabling such things as watching movies on displays while driving. These new proposed regulations come as fatalities rose 7.1 percent in the last calendar year—the biggest single annual percentage change in 50 years.


State Farm Class Action Lawsuit Underway in Lousiana

The State of Louisiana has sued State Farm Insurance Company for engaging in “unsafe and deceptive” auto repair practices. Although for a while it appeared the litigation would be brought in federal court in Orlando, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has moved the litigation back to Louisiana.

Basically, the suit has alleged State Farm made their customers use knock-off, junkyard parts of a far lesser quality than they are typically obligated to under a standard contract for automobile insurance.

State Farm is the largest auto insurer in Louisiana, writing roughly a third of all policies in the State. The suit also alleges that State Farm steered their insureds to “direct repair facilities,” which are forced through market pressures and contractual obligations to make vehicle repairs as quickly and cheaply as possible—many times leaving the drivers of repaired vehicles in unsafe vehicles.

In a statement last week, Attorney General Caldwell said, “State Farm has violated Louisiana laws by engaging in a pattern of unfair and fraudulent business practices aimed at controlling the auto repair industry and forcing unsafe repairs on vehicles without the knowledge or consent of Louisiana consumers…”

It will be interesting to see how this litigation proceeds. Many of our clients initially reach out to us because they have received an unfair and lowball estimate on their property damage. Hopefully, litigation like this will push insurers to meet their duties and perform all repairs as they are contractually obligated to.


Florida Code of Judicial Conduct

The Florida Supreme Court promulgates the Florida Rules of Court. Among the rules are the following seven canons of judicial conduct:

Canon 1. A Judge Shall Uphold the Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary

Canon 2. A Judge Shall Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in all of the Judge’s Activities

Canon 3. A Judge Shall Perform the Duties of Judicial Office Impartially and Diligently

Canon 4. A Judge Is Encouraged to Engage in Activities to Improve the Law, the Legal System, and the Administration of Justice

Canon 5. A Judge Shall Regulate Extrajudicial Activities to Minimize the Risk of Conflict With Judicial Duties

Canon 6. Fiscal Matters of a Judge Shall be Conducted in a Manner That Does Not Give the Appearance of Influence or Impropriety; etc.

Canon 7. A Judge or Candidate for Judicial Office Shall Refrain From Inappropriate Political Activity

 

 


Bruner Law Firm represents clients throughout Florida’s Emerald Coast including Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Mary Esther, Niceville, Freeport, Defuniak Springs, Crestview, Shalimar, Navarre, Gulf Breeze, Milton, Laurel Hill, Bonifay, Chipley, Panama City, Panama City Beach, Valparaiso, Miramar Beach, Okaloosa County, Walton County, Santa Rosa County, Escambia County, Bay County, and Holmes County.

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